Holden has set its sights on having its own female Supercars driver, even if it means developing a young talent itself.
Having made a firm commitment to its Supercars programme amid an ongoing shake-up of its marketing activities, the brand will now look to broaden the appeal of its motor racing spend by getting a female talent on the books.
According to Holden's Executive Director of Marketing Mark Harland, the brand is open to both securing an established driver in the ilk of Simona de Silvestro, or using its involvement in the new SuperUtes series as a first step to develop its own female driving star.
"We’ve had a few chats with a couple of teams to see what we can do to bring a female up through the ranks, but there’s nothing to confirm yet," Harland said.
"We’re looking at SuperUtes as a great way to develop some drivers.
"If we have someone like Simona, who is at that Supercar level, then absolutely we would do that.
"If that’s not possible, because there are only a few people capable of that, then bringing someone up and developing someone like our 15 year old [Tomas Gasperak], bringing them through SuperUtes is a great way to do that as well."
Molly Taylor, who currently competes in the Australian Rally Championship in a factory-backed Subaru, is understood to be one of the drivers on Holden's wishlist.
Good for brand and sport
Expanding on the reasoning behind the push for a female driver, Harland said it would not just benefit Holden as a brand, but the sport as a whole.
"It’s something that we want to do because it does bring in some new people," he added.
"Quite frankly from our CEO down – our CEO is Mary Barra, who has an engineering background – our company GM as a whole, not just Holden, is really intent on developing female engineers and drivers.
"Through the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programme, I’ve been talking to the guys at [the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport] about what we can to support them on their programme.
"Bringing females through the ranks, drivers, engineers, things like that, is good.
"I think you’ve got to look at how you can develop young people and women and bring them into the sport.
"That’s not only good for Holden, but it’s good for Supercars as well."
CAMS is already active in its support of female participation through its Women of Australian Motor Sport programme, and is also set to team up with Susie Wolff's Dare to Dream foundation this year, which will be announced at the Australian Grand Prix.